Evaluate Your Succession Plan

The final step in developing a succession plan is to evaluate and review how it has worked and what (if any) adjustments need to be made. Evaluation of your club’s succession plan needs to be ongoing. It is about constantly monitoring movements within your club and making sure that you are prepared for what is to come. A succession plan is not something that you complete and then don’t look at for a few years. It should be reviewed and evaluated on an ongoing basis to make sure it is keeping up with the changes within your club.

There are two aspects of evaluation; reviewing how the plan itself is working and reviewing movements or changes within your organisation that could influence the plan.

First and foremost, it is vital that you know whether the plan itself is actually having a positive impact on your club. In order to gauge this, your succession planning performance needs to be measurable. Your club needs to decide on clear indicators that measure the effectiveness and success of your plan. Just like in a business, someone (or a group) should be accountable for the performance of the plan. In most clubs, this would usually be the chairman of the board or the board as a whole. Making someone accountable for the plan should ensure a better level of commitment from them and encourage them to invest time and energy in to making the plan effective. This means that if your measured outcomes show no positive improvement, then it is the responsibility of this person or this group to do something about it. If no one is accountable then no one will feel responsible for ensuring the plan actually works. 

Your club should choose measurable indicators that reflect your main priorities for the plan. Some may be measured purely with numbers but other indicators might require you to use surveys, informal chats or conduct interviews with volunteers. Some indicators could be:

    • Volunteer turnover (that is, how frequently your volunteers come and go);
    • The number of existing volunteers who have stepped into new roles when a position has become vacant versus the number of new volunteers you have had to recruit to fill positions;
    • The time it has taken to fill vacant positions;
    • Feedback (from members, volunteers, board members, new recruits);
    • Retention rates of volunteers (how long are they staying in your club?)
    • Volunteer satisfaction (are they bored or overworked?)
    • Reasons given for volunteer departure;
    • The nature of role transitions (has it been smooth when someone has left and another person takes over or has there been a lot of disruption?

For an explanation of these indicators and suggestions for how to measure them, view the Table – Performance Indicator (37 KB).

This list is not exhaustive and there may be other factors you use to measure the success of your plan. It is best if you decide right from the start exactly which indicators you will be using so you can record the information as you go. Again, you should not make this too difficult and it should not add a whole new workload to already busy volunteers. 

Secondly, evaluation is also about ‘keeping your finger on the pulse’. By consistently reviewing how thing are going and taking notice of movements within your club, you can better predict what is likely to happen in the near future and prepare for it. Apart from the performance indicators, your club also needs to be keeping track of things like:

    • Who might be approaching retirement or leaving the club? 
    • Who is ready to step in to other roles or take on more responsibility?
    • Which volunteers have valuable skills or expertise that your club needs?
    • What needs/challenges could arise in the near future and what skills/expertise will you need to address this?
    • Do the position descriptions still fit the roles or do they need to be updated?
    • Are there any major changes in our community that could impact on our club and volunteer numbers?

You may like to use this Agenda Template which includes succession planning discussion points. This will present an opportunity for you to discuss any changes at your board meetings. By monitoring performance and being aware of changes happening within your club as they happen, your succession plan will be more effective, more relevant and much more valuable to your club. The evaluation process is a crucial step to ensuring future growth of your club. While it is listed as Step 5 in the succession planning process, in some ways the evaluation process starts right at the beginning. From the start, your club needs to be observing, reviewing and recording information so you can properly evaluate the plan’s performance and know what changes need to be made.